I saw this great article and thought it would be a perfect addition for those seeking help with pairing wines with chocolate.
Vic Poulos: Wine paired with chocolate must be sweet
by Vic Poulos / Special to the Times
Posted: 09/29/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT
Some might think it’s impossible to pair wine with chocolate. But to that I say, nothing is impossible when it comes to wine. In fact, wine and chocolate are a great combination.
The first thing to remember when concocting your first wine-chocolate pairing is that the wine you pick should be just as sweet as — if not sweeter than — the chocolate itself. This is probably the most important step in the process, and is actually a good rule in general for pairing wine with any dessert.
There are many kinds of chocolate, but let’s just look at the three general categories: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Believe it or not, there are indeed different wines that go well with each of these types of chocolate.
Darker and more bittersweet chocolates should be paired with wines that have roasted and robust flavors. Generally, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel have a long history of pairing well with dark chocolate. pinot noir or a merlot also pair nicely with dark chocolate, but probably just for dark chocolates at around 55 percent cocoa. For fun, you can also always give a vintage port a try with dark chocolate as it offers a well-balanced pairing to dark chocolate.
It’s difficult to go with anything other than a pinot noir here, but a lighter-bodied merlot can work just as well. These wines will work well with any variety of milk chocolate items, including a bar of milk chocolate, a chocolate mousse or a chocolate accented cheesecake. For fun, you can also consider a hearty sparkling wine or Champagne. Last, but certainly not least, a ruby port is a nice, safe bet when looking for a good wine to go with milk chocolate. Keep in mind that there are different kinds of ports, and not all go well with dessert. There is not a wine much better with dessert than a ruby port, with some dried fruit and walnuts.
White chocolates are generally lighter and more buttery in their flavoring. This makes white chocolate an ideal match for a sherry or a moscato. A moscato offers nice, subtle sweet bubbles. An orange muscat can also be fun to try with white chocolate. These wines will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the orange muscat in particular will pick up fruit tones.
As I always say, however, wine pairing is all about experimentation and simply having whatever wine you like best with whichever foods you like best. Even other wines can work with chocolate and one should simply experiment. I am a Frizanti or spumante fan in the summer months and I recently tried a Rose Regali by Villa Banfi from the Greenery Market with a piece of German milk chocolate provided by a special friend. It was fabulous. A nice moscato-based wine from Alsace, France or an Asti from Italy is also a great pairing after a nice meal due to the orange influence the moscato carries into the chocolate.
Remember, as you experiment with your wine and food pairings, dessert and chocolate are not off limits. The above is simply a guide on your own journey of food and wine pairings.
Want an unusual party with friends? Then host a chocolate and wine pairing! Don’t be afraid to veer off the road a little on your next wine journey.
Vic Poulos is owner of Zin Valle Vineyards.